If you’re in the market to purchase a home, you may be considering looking at a condo or townhome. With housing prices increasing across the country, this style of homes are often the most affordable, particularly for new homeowners or those who are looking to downsize. There are many benefits associated with living in a condo or townhome such as lower housing costs, maintenance and amenities included, and often they come with building security features. That said, before you take the plunge consider the following items to be sure condo or townhome ownership is right for you.
Benefits of Condo/Townhouse Ownership:
- Minimal Maintenance – Maintenance for the exterior of the building is included with your monthly Strata fees meaning owners only need to maintain the interior of their units
- Access to Amenities – Often strata’s include amenities such as a gym, pool, sauna or space to hold gatherings
- Increased Security – Condos and townhomes often offer increased security features for their residents such as fobbed entrances, a security guard, gated property or security cameras.
- Affordability – Typically the cost to own a condo or townhome are less than owning a single family dwelling, making them a more affordable housing option
- Location, location, location– Often condos or townhomes are located in more urban areas allowing for a mix of residential and urban living
Downsides of Condo/Townhouse Ownership:
- Proximity to Neighbors – You will live in close quarters to your neighbors, meaning you likely will have a bit less privacy and likely increased noise due to shared walls
- Strata Fees – Your monthly maintenance/association fees may go towards an amenity you don’t use such as a gym or garden
- Potential for Special Levy –As the building ages you will likely be assessed a portion of the cost to upgrade, or repair the building
- By-law restrictions – Strata by-laws often restrict items such as parking, number or type of pets, smoking on premise or even the colour of exterior facing window coverings
It is important to consider these factors, in addition to more personal factors such as your own habits and preferences. For example, how many times to do you leave the house in a day? If the answer is multiple times, perhaps walking down a long hallway and taking the elevator or stairs multiple times a day wouldn’t work for you. Conversely, if you travel frequently a home where the exterior maintenance is already taken care of could be perfect.